Oncology Exercise Physiology

Unfortunately one in three Australian men and one in four women will be directly affected by cancer before the age of 75, with melanoma, prostate, colorectal, breast and lung cancers comprising the most common types.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer then you will know that treatment usually involves a combination of: surgery, radiation, systemic chemo- or hormone therapy and numerous visits to the GP / Specialists.

While getting the right treatment as soon as possible is essential, the treatment will result in a number of the following side effects including:

  • loss of function (musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary),
  • infections,
  • diarrhoea,
  • pain,
  • numbness,
  • lymphoedema,
  • nausea,
  • fatigue,
  • reduction in bone mass,
  • body composition changes, to name a few.
These side effects tends to peak during treatment, however symptoms may persist for many months or even years following treatment.In addition cancer and its associated treatment may increase risk of other common chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Exercise is an essential part of your Treatment

Exercise is now considered an essential part of cancer treatment. Exercise is beneficial in both preventing treatment related side effects, and mitigating them when they do occur. Exercise will also assist you in ‘bridging the gap’ between treatment cessation and effectively returning to ‘normal’ daily life.

Exercise during and / or following treatment offers the following benefits:

  • prevents decline and/or improves cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular function,
  • improves body composition (preservation or increase in muscle mass, loss of fat mass),
  • improves immune function,
  • improves strength and flexibility,
  • improves body image,
  • self-esteem and mood,
  • reduces the number and severity of side-effects including nausea, fatigue and pain,
  • reduces hospitalisation duration,
  • improves chemotherapy completion rates,
  • allows for better adjustment to illness, and
  • reduces stress, depression and anxiety, all of which contribute to improvements in quality of life.


Studies show that a  lack of physical activity during and/or following cancer treatment has the potential to exacerbate symptoms (e.g. fatigue) and contribute to loss of function (musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health), hence contributing to reductions in quality of life.


Participation in physical activity reduces the risk of Cancer recurrence and death by up to half, when compared with those who are sedentary.


Exercise and Cancer Prevention

The scientific evidence supporting physical activity as a means of cancer prevention is now considered ‘strong’ and ‘convincing’ for particular cancers including colon/colorectal and breast, ‘probable’ for prostate and ‘possible’ for lung and endometrial cancers, with risk ratios or odds ratios reported for the physically active groups ranging from 0.3 to 0.8 (representing risk reductions of 25% to more than three-fold).


Published evidence supports a dose–response relationship between physical activity levels and some cancers including colorectal, breast and prostate, showing that cancer risk decreases as activity levels increase.


Oncology Exercise Physiology


At Living Energy Pilates and Rehabilitation you will be assessed by an Exercise Physiologist who is an expert in chronic disease management and experienced with cancer treatment. Based on your assessment and taking into account your stage of treatment we will determine an exercise routine that will assist with your treatment and recovery and takes into account your personal cicrumstances.


Your exercise sessions will be adjusted according to changes in treatment, presence of side-effects, your functional and physical status, and presence of contraindications and clinical concerns. You will have your ‘good days’ and ‘not so good days’ and we are happy to adjust for that.



Rebates may be available for GPMP, TCA, T2DM, and DVA clients. For privately funded clients the fees are listed below.

Exercise Physiology Fees
1 x Initial Assessment (45min) plus 1 pair Gripperz Socks $95
1 x 30 min Consultation - Exercise Physiology $66
1 x 60 min Consultation - Exercise Physiology $90